Two businesses benefit from microloan program
Rockland — Sweet Peas Consignment and Dream Local Digital have received microloans of $8,000 and $25,000, respectively, from the Knox County Regional Microloan Fund Program, which is administered by the city.
Sweet Peas Consignment owner Laurie Campbell is using her microloan to move from 150 Union St. to a larger location at 229 Park St., at the corner of Payne Avenue and across from Domino's Pizza on Route 1.
Sweet Peas is a family consignment store specializing in baby and youth clothing and equipment. Expansion will allow for additional selections of men and women's clothing, including maternity clothes, and household furnishings and furniture.
Campbell plans on a soft opening by Tuesday, July 1. A grand opening is planned Saturday, July 12, from noon to 5 p.m. that will include free Domino's pizza, a bounce house for children, and an appearance from "Kyle the Balloon Guy" from Just Jump'n.
On June 19, workers from Frothingham Painters were busy touching up the scalloped edging and beams with "lime-a-licious" paint next to yellow walls.
"These colors express the fun and excitement at Sweet Pea Consignment, and depict the energy in a new chapter for our business," Campbell said. "Everything here is affordable, at Goodwill prices or lower. People call us in need of something and we find it for them. We enjoy doing it."
Campbell, who is getting married Sept. 27, said the microloan comes at an opportune time, when summer business peaks. She has dropped the "Li'l" from the Sweet Peas Consignment name to show that the business is now of a large size. An expert in children's clothing, she has four children ages 3 to 9: Jackson, Madison, Mallory, and Hannah. Campbell also works as a dental assistant at Mount Pleasant Dental Care.
"Most of the hard construction work on our store was done by my fiance, Joshua Boyer, who works at Maine Coast Construction," Campbell said. "I could not have done this without him."
Dream Local Digital, at 463 Main St., will use its microloan to expand into the lower floor in the building it took upper-floor occupancy in August 2013. Company founder Shannon Kinney said that because of the microloan program, she will be able hire as many as 10 to 20 new employees in the near future, adding to her present staff of 24.
Dream Local Digital is a digital marketing agency that helps small businesses market themselves online through social media, content marketing, search engine optimization, blogs, websites, email, and other hi-tech means. Kinney said the possibility of expanding would not be possible without cooperation from building owner Everett Spear III and John Holden, city community development director, who administers the Knox County Regional Microloan Program.
"Dream Local Digital is committed to creating jobs here in Maine, and this microloan is a critical part of our growth," Kinney said. "Our business is global and we are making it successful here in Rockland. We are grateful to the city of Rockland for reaching out to us and finding ways to support us in our growth."
Kinney said Everett Spear III's building at 463 Main St. has an interesting history. The building was originally built in 1924 by his great-grandfather, Everett Spear, to house The Courier-Gazette. It served as the newspaper's home until the 1950s. Everett Spear III, who owns E.L. Spear, Inc., Lumber and Hardware, has been instrumental in offering guidance related to building restoration, Kinney said.
The Knox County Regional Microloan Fund Program is a small capital funding source for companies in the participating communities of Rockland, Rockport, Union, Warren, Thomaston, and Belfast. Member communities are represented on the loan committee.
Loans are available for up to $25,000 and require job creation, some jobs from which must be taken by those of low to to moderate incomes, according to Holden.
Courier Publications reporter Larry Di Giovanni can be reached at 594-4401 x. 117, or by email at: email@example.com.